What We Can Afford

Cartoon by Barry


This comic is by myself and Kevin Moore.


IF you like these cartoons, support them like a suspension bridge after the holidays but before three shakes of a cat’s tale of woe by supporting my patreon!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. Each panel shows the same two people talking, a middle-aged male politician type wearing a well-tailored suit, and a younger woman wearing a jeans jacket over an untucked yellow shirt.  We’ll call the two characters “SENATOR” and “ACTIVIST” for purposes of this transcript.

PANEL 1

Senator and Activist are talking, although the Senator doesn’t look like he wants to be in this conversation – he’s looking at his cell phone. The activist is facing him and looks serious, holding a palm up in a “here’s the point I’m making” gesture.

ACTIVIST: Good welfare programs can actually save the government money. Homes for the homeless, health care for children and pregnant women, free pre-K education, good vocational education in prison… All these programs save us money in the long run.

PANEL 2

A close-up of Activist, smiling and pressing a forefinger to the side of her head.

ACTIVIST: We should do these tings because they’re the right thing to do… But they’re also the smart thing to do.

PANEL 3

The camera has backed up enough so that we can see that the two of them are standing on a big pile of cash. The senator is smiling and shrugging. The activist is gesturing at the cash they’re standing on.

SENATOR: Even if that’s true, we just can’t afford it! The debt, the deficit… The country’s broke!

ACTIVIST: What is this we’re standing on?

PANEL 4

The “camera” has pulled back even more, and we can now see that the two of them are standing on top of a huge load of money being carried by an enormous dump truck. There’s so much money that it rises high above the sides of the truck’s, um, you know, that space that big trucks have that they carry their loads in. I’m sure there’s a word for it, but I don’t know what that word is. Anyway, the pile of money rises high above whatever we call that.

(The word “Moola” is painted on the front of the truck).

SENATOR: This? One of our daily dump trucks full of money for huge tax breaks for rich people and big corporations.

ACTIVIST: And what is the truck standing on?

PANEL 5

The “camera” has pulled back even more, and now we can see that the dump truck full of money is parked on top of a pile of money that’s huge even when compared to a giant dump truck. The money is on top of a cargo ship, which is floating on the ocean.

Se can still make out the Senator and the Activist, but the camera is now pulled back so far that they’re little more than tiny dots.

SENATOR: Let’s see… The truck is on top of one of our daily cargo ships full of money for the military.

PANEL 6

The “camera” has zoomed back in to a close shot of the two people. The Senator is talking with a neutral expression. The activist is face-palming.

SENATOR: Why? What’s your point?


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons, Kevin Moore collaborations |

Capitalism can Innovate Around Anything!

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, please support them! Each $2 pledge really helps! Do it or I’ll buy a puppy from a puppy farm instead of going to a shelter!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus an additional tiny “kicker” panel under the bottom of the cartoon.

The cartoon shows two businessmen-types walking on a city street. One of them is wearing a red bow-tie and a sky-blue suit; the other is wearing an ordinary tie and a duller suit, with a desaturated green jacket and black pants. The bow-tie guy is totally bald – probably shaves his head – and has a van dyke beard and mustache. The regular-tie guy has blond hair and is cleanshaven, and is looking at his smart phone as he walks.

PANEL ONE

The two of them walk on the sidewalk, Blonde looking at his phone, Bowtie raising his arms enthusiastically as he talks, grinning. (Not important to the cartoon: In the background, across the street, a smiling businessman talks to a smiling man with red skin, horns, and a tail, who is holding up a clipboard. And a woman in a second story window leans out to smile at a largish bird which is hovering and looking back at her.)

BOWTIE: The most amazing thing about capitalism is the creative genius of entrepreneurs!

PANEL 2

A closeup on just Bowtie, who looks overjoyed. His eyes are drawn as stars, and the air around him is filled with stars and dollar signs.

BOWTIE: If there’s profit to be made, there’s nothing capitalism can’t do! Feed the world! Create the internet! Create modern medicine!

PANEL 3

A shot of the two of them walking. Bowtie keeps on grinning and talking, his fists pumped in front of him in a pleased sort of way. Blonde reads something from the cell phone he’s holding.

BOWTIE: There’s no problem that capitalism can’t innovate around!

BLONDE: Hey, look at this: some senators want new regulations to protect the climate.

PANEL 4

Bowtie jumps straight up into the air (cartoon code for “I am very surprised”), clutching his face in his hands, his mouth and eyes huge in an expression of enormous dismay. He is yelling. Blonde, surprised by Bowtie’s big reaction, is stumbling back from Bowtie a little.

BOWTIE: NOOOO! CAPITALISM IS DOOMED!

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Bowtie is speaking directly to the readers, his face still showing distress.

BOWTIE: Even if capitalism miraculously survives, some rich people will be slightly less rich! I can’t imagine a greater tragedy!


This cartoon on patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons, Environmental cartoons |

How City Budgets Work

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, help us make more by supporting the Patreon! Getting lots of $1 and $2 pledges is our business model. Also, I just used the term “business model” in a sentence. Life is weird.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

(New drinking game! Every time I make a typo, take a drink. Don’t play this game if you have to drive later.)

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene, and has a different color palette.

PANEL 1

This panel, drawing with an orange-ish palette, shows a woman talking on the phone, looking a little panicked. Beside her, a wide-eyed child watches, looking very worried. Above them both is a large caption, in big green letters.

CAPTION: HOW CITY BUDGETS WORK

WOMAN: A six year waiting list? But we’re homeless now!

PANEL 2

This panel is colored in shades of purple.

A middle-aged woman wearing glasses and a striped dress is talking to a middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie. She looks wide-eyed and worried; he looks angry, glaring into space as he talks.

Behind them we can see a big window; various shapes (a banana, an apple, flowers, a star) have been cut out of paper and taped to the window. In front of them, we see mostly the heads and faces of a crowd of children, variously talking, smiling, making a peace sign, and dozing off (with a bit of drool).

WOMAN: But we can’t fit another 30 chairs into this classroom!

MAN: Chairs? City Hall says kids can stand.

PANEL 3

This panel is colored in very dreary shades of green.

We are looking through a doorway at a man with slightly shaggy hair, who sits unhappily at a cheap rectangular table in an otherwise empty room. Outside the room, leaning back as if he’s just calling something into the room while rushing past, a man wearing glasses and a jacket and tie, talks to the shaggy-haired man.

RUSHING MAN: Hi! I’m your public defender. Unfortunately, I’ve been assigned so many defendants that introducing myself is all the time I have for your case this month.

RUSHING MAN: See you at your trial!

PANEL 4

This panel is colored in shades of blue, except for the cash, which is colored in green.

A group of cops is dancing merrily while grinning. One cop waggles his midsection; one imitates John Travolta’s disco pose from “Saturday Night Fever”; a couple dances in a pair, arms on each other’s shoulders; a few others are kicking and throwing their arms up into the hair. It’s a celebration. Green cash is filling the air, raining down on them.

COPS (said by several in unison): MONEY DANCE!


How City Budgets Work | Barry Deutsch on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons |

I’ve Tried Everything To Find New Workers!

Cartoon by Barry


If you like my cartoons, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon is four panels long. Each panel shows the same prosperous-looking middle-aged white man, wearing a suit and tie, walking on city sidewalks and talking loudly into his cell phone.

There’s an additional tiny “kicker” panel below the bottom of the comic.

PANEL 1

Necktie man is talking into his cell phone with an aggrieved expression. He’s walking pass an annoyed-looking young guy leaning against a wall. The young guy is wearing a backwards baseball cap, glasses, and a tank top, and he’s speaking to necktie man. Necktie man gives no sign of having heard.

NECKTIE: I’ve tried everything to find new workers! I’ve gone to job fairs… Offered them tee-shirts for applying…

WALL LEANER: Did you offer higher wages?

PANEL 2

Necktie dude is now in a different area, still looking aggrieved and talking loudly into his phone. On the street next to the sidewalk, a blonde woman on a bike, wearing a red bike helmet and a blue hoodie, talks to Necktie as she passes him.

NECKTIE: I can’t fill these jobs! I even got the government to throw people off unemployment… Nothing works!

BIKER: Have you tried offering higher wages?

PANEL 3

Necktie walks past a little girl playing hopscotch on the same sidewalk. The girl is wearing a purple skirt with puffy tool at the bottom, and a sleeveless tee with a pattern of red spirals.

NECKTIE: I’m offering unpredictable schedules, minimal benefits and $9 an hour! And they still don’t want my jobs?

LITTLE GIRL: You should offer higher wages.

PANEL 4

Necktie dude walks past a couple of casually-dressed protestors. The first protestor is holding a large sign that says “HIGHER,” and the second protestor has a large sign that says “WAGES.”

NECKTIE: I’ve tried everything. They just don’t want to work!

NECKTIE: Hello, governor? Can we arrest people for being unemployed?

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Necktie dude, still looking grumpy, is talking at Barry the cartoonist.

NECKTIE: I’d love to pay higher wages, but we don’t have the money! I had to get by on only a $38 million salary this year!


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Doing Too Little vs Helping Too Many

Cartoon by Barry


Help us keep making cartoons by supporting my Patreon! If you do, you’ll grow three feet taller and dogs everywhere will like you!


This month’s collab with Becky Hawkins has more of Becky in it than usual, I think.

This cartoon originated in a remark Becky made, that most safety net debates seem to boil down to doing too little versus helping too many. What Becky said stuck in my head, and I came back to her with this cartoon script.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show the same two people. A redhead wearing thick glasses and a green jacket over a checkboard sweater – let’s face it, they look like a nerd – is sitting at a desk, with a stack of papers on the desk. (I’m a nerd, so I’m allowed to say that.) Standing next to the desk is a blonde woman with a blue dress and a matching blue necklace.

PANEL 1

Redhead gestures towards the stack of papers, smiling. Necklace leans over to look at the papers, raising an eyebrow.

REDHEAD: Check this out! I’ve created a proposal for better welfare benefits.

NECKLACE: Hmmm…

PANEL 2

Necklace points to something on the papers, looking a little annoyed.  Redhead is concerned by what she’s saying.

NECKLACE: But this plan leaves so many people out.

PANEL 3

Redhead leans back over the papers, writing rapidly with a pen. Necklace leans over, hand on chin, as she looks at what Redhead’s writing.

REDHEAD: Good point… Here, let me just fix some things…

PANEL 4

Redhead, looking proud, holds up a paper to display to Necklace. Necklace angrily yells, throwing papers into the air.

REDHEAD: Okay, how’s this?

NECKLACE: NOW YOUR PLAN HELPS PEOPLE WHO DON’T DESERVE IT!


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons |

Corporate Diversity Training

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these cartoons, please support them on Patreon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, showing a zoom conversation between someone who looks like a successful middle aged executive (vest, tie, bald on top, drapery in the background) and someone who looks much younger, with a light yellow polo shirt and deferential body language. Behind him we can see a neat, uncluttered room with a plant on a bookcase and some sort of framed certificate or degree on the wall.

PANEL 1

We are looking at a laptop, open; on the laptop’s screen, we see a zoom-style conversation with two people, who I’ll call the executive and yellowshirt. The executive is holding up a finger as he gives out an assignment, and looks demanding. Yellowshirt is holding up a hand as he tries to explain something.

EXECUTIVE: This company needs to say it’s done something to become more diverse.

YELLOWSHIRT: Sir, I’ve been reading the research on this.

PANEL 2 

A medium shot of Yellowshirt, now raising both palms as he warms to his subject.

YELLOWSHIRT: Quickie “diversity seminars” don’t help, and can even make things worse because of the resentment factor. We won’t become really diverse until we commit to changing how we recruit and mentor, starting from the top.

PANEL 3

A long shot of Yellowshirt. We can now see that the room outside the view of his webcam is actually incredibly sloppy; there’s an open pizza box, a pile of laundry, a half eaten apple. a sock hanging off a bookshelf, an empty soda can on its side, and other sorts of junk. Yellowshirt, arms spread, is looking enthusiastic as he warms to the subject.

YELLOWSHIRT: It’ll take years of hard work. We’d have to change our company culture. But if we do it, we can make our company more diverse and more profitable.

PANEL 4

Back to the split-screen showing both the executive and Yellowshirt. The executive is leaning forward, towards the camera, and is holding a flat hand out in a “cutting you off now” gesture. Yellowshirt is face-palming.

EXECUTIVE: Listen to my words. We need to say we’ve done something. To SAY it.

YELLOWSHIRT: I’ll schedule a diversity seminar right away, sir.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Are You GENUINELY Poor?

Cartoon by Barry


Please support these cartoons by supporting my Patreon! Just a $1 or $2 pledge means a lot to me.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows two men: A not-wealthy looking man with shaggy hair and some stubble, and a bald man in glasses, wearing a business suit and tie. Each panel shows them at a sidewalk with grass growing in the background.

PANEL 1

Shaggy is wearing a wrinkled collared shirt and jeans. Necktie is wearing a gray suit with a tie with a dot pattern.

It’s bright daytime. Shaggy, with his back turned to Necktie, is looking at and poking a smartphone, and, in the helpful way people so often do in the first panel of my cartoons, talking aloud to himself. Necktie is turning to look at, and yell at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I can’t find a job and I’m out of money… Time to google “food stamps.”

NECKTIE: Food stamps are for people who are genuinely poor. If you were poor, you wouldn’t own a smartphone, would you?

PANEL 2

A caption says “one week later.”

From the light, it appears to be early evening. Shaggy is wearing a plaid shirt and Black pants, and has a backpack; Necktie is wearing a pinstripe suit and a tie with horizontal stripes.

Shaggy is looking worried and has a hand on his chest; Necktie is sternly talking to, and pointing at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I sold my phone, but now I’m out of money again.

NECKTIE: So sell your car. No one who owns a car is poor.

PANEL 3

A caption says “one month later.”

The same two men, on a similar patch of sidewalk. Shaggy is wearing sweatpants with a stripe down the side, and a hole in one knee, and a tee shirt. Necktie is wearing a dark blue suit, a black shirt, and a light-colored necktie.

Shaggy is sitting on the curb, slumping, looking down both literally and metaphorically. Necktie, talking to Shaggy, looks very cheerful.

SHAGGY: Now I’ve got no money for food, no phone for job hunting, and no car to get to a job!

NECKTIE: Excellent! Now you’re genuinely poor!

PANEL 4

The same scene, a moment later. Shaggy, looking hopeful, is looking up at Necktie. Necktie folds his arms and grins even more.

SHAGGY: So now you’re okay with me getting food stamps?

NECKTIE: Nope!

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons |

Capitalism/Socialism

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, help me make more at my Patreon! Lots of $1 or $2 pledges means I can make a living.


Today’s comic is written by me and drawn by Jake Richmond, creator of Modest Medusa. Jake is a longtime friend and collaborator of mine – he colored my “Hereville” graphic novels – but this is the first time he’s drawn a comic of mine.

Jake’s a terrific cartoonist. The major reason I asked him to draw this strip rather than another is because I’ve always liked how Jake draws water.


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show a man in a one-person rowboat. He’s rowing  The man is wearing an “Uncle Sam” style red-white-and-blue top hat.

PANEL 1

The man – let’s call him Uncle Sam – is rowing and talking cheerfully. He’s rowing facing backwards (as people often do in rowboats), so he can’t see that his boat is heading straight towards a large rock jutting above the water.

SAM: Capitalism capitalism capitalism capitalism…

PANEL 2

The boat hits the rock, and Sam is thrown over the side of the boat. His hat flies up a little off his head, and we can see that he’s bald.

SAM: Capitali- AHH!

PANEL 3

The man, looking panicked, scrambles to get back into the boat, yelling as he struggles, the water splashing around him. His hat floats on the water nearby.

SAM: SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM!

PANEL 4

Sam is now back in the rowboat, looking happy and relieved. All is calm. He has put the hat, dripping with water, back on his head.

SAM: Where was I…? Oh yes… Capitalism capitalism…

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Private Equity Vampire

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these comics, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really matters.


TRANSCRIPT OF COMIC:

This comic strip has four panels. All four panels show the same two characters. The first is a balding businessman-looking type, middle-aged, wearing a collared shirt and necktie, and wearing glasses. The second character is a stereotypical male vampire, with pointy ears, pale skin, fangs, and a big black cloak.

All four panels take place at night, in a hilly graveyard.

PANEL 1

This panel shows the businessman jumping back in fear as the vampire leans towards him, leering.

BUSINESSMAN: Gasp! A vampire!

VAMPIRE: I’m not a vampire. I’m a private equity firm! I’m here to help you because you’re fragile and weak!

PANEL 2

A shot shows weeds and a bare tree and some graves, mostly in silhouette, in the foreground. Far in the background, we can see the businessman being chased by the vampire. There’s a full moon in the sky.

BUSINESSMAN: But I’m actually very healthy!

VAMPIRE: You look healthy. But you need to be owned and monitored by someone who knows literally nothing about your business.

PANEL 3

In front of a stone wall with a rickety iron-bar fence, the vampire has caught the businessman, and is leaning the businessman backward while he bends forwards and sucks the blood out of the businessman’s neck. The businessman looks very distressed, understandably; the vampire looks like he’s concentrating on his meal.

BUSINESSMAN: Now you’re just sucking away all my blood for yourself.

VAMPIRE: I’m forcing you to innovate and learn to do more with less blood!

PANEL 4

The businessman lies dead on the ground, his glasses having fallen off his face, eyes in the little cartoon “x”s of death. Standing above him, the vampire cheerfully speaks, holding out a hand in an “explaining” gesture.

VAMPIRE: So it seems that without blood, you weren’t nimble enough to adapt to a changing market. I’m sure you would have died sooner if I hadn’t stepped in!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Which Economic System Prevents Pandemics?

Cartoon by Barry


Welcome to my friend and now collaborator Frank Young, who colored this cartoon. There’s no way I could do justice to Frank’s resume – cartoonist, novelist, former editor of the Comics Journal, author of many nonfiction books about classic comics, and curator of many fine collections of classic comics.

The first time Frank colored this cartoon, he colored it like a regular cartoon – you know, with actual colors and stuff. I had to ask him to try again, this time using the sort of very limited palettes I usually prefer. I’m very happy with how the finished cartoon came out.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small “kicker” panel below the bottom of the strip.

Each of the panels shows the same scene; two humans, and an anthropomorphized coronavirus (with a perfectly round head and little things sticking out of the head in every direction). Other than that, the corona virus has an ordinary human body.

The two humans are a woman with shoulder-length hair, wearing a turtleneck and a skirt with a floral pattern; and a woman with glasses, black bobbed hair (like Lucy from Peanuts), and a sleeveless dress over a striped short-sleeved shirt.

They’re sitting around a little round table with two cups of coffee on it. The two women are arguing. The coronavirus is just looking ahead blankly, not seeming to pay attention to what the women are saying.

PANEL 1

GLASSES: It’s not a coincidence that cornonavirus began in a communist country. An unfettered free market wouldn’t have-

TURTLENECK: That’s crap!

PANEL 2

TURTLENECK: Single payer could have prevented this!

GLASSES: Socialized medicine didn’t save Italy, Spain and Germany!

PANEL 3

The same scene. The two women are leaning into their argument, their noses almost touching. The coronavirus, still without much expression, lifts a forefinger and speaks.

TURTLENECK: Just like capitalism didn’t-

GLASSES: How can you ignore-

CORONAVIRUS: Can I say something?

PANEL 4

Silent panel.

The chair coronavirus was sitting in is empty, and coronavirus is not in this panel.

The two women slump against the table and chairs, dead. (They have little “X”s for eyes, cartoon symbols for being dead.) An overturned coffee mug on the table is spilling over the side of the table.

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Two middle-aged men talk; one of them is Barry, the cartoonist. The first man looks inquisitive; Barry responds cheerfully.

MAN: So you’re saying both sides are equally bad?

BARRY: The phrase “fuck no” is woefully inadequate.


Posted in COVID-19, Economic cartoons |